Thursday, May 20, 2010

Knights of Columbus Play the Wimps

Catholic Culture reports that the national leadership of the Knights of Columbus has forbidden local councils from disciplining members who publicly take stands in opposition to Church teachings on abortion and "gay marriage".

At a Massachusetts state convention, a member proposed membership suspension for any member-politician who supports abortion and same-sex marriage.  The Supreme Advocate of the KofC, John Martella, brought the hammer down on that, declaring "a subordinate council may not impose fraternal discipline with respect to a public figure's official actions on matters pertaining to faith and morals. Rather, any such discipline must be made by or at the direction of the Supreme Board of Directors."

Now here's a key statement.  He said that "if the public figure's bishop has not excommunicated him for his public positions on issues relating to matters of faith and morals, it would be highly inappropriate for the Knights of Columbus to do so,"

Marrella's logic is flawed in several respects.  To wit:

  1. In that last sentence, he intimates that expulsion from the KofC is on the same par as excommunication from the Church.  Not so.  The KofC is a private organization. There is no reason to presume that excommunication from the Church is a prerequisite to expulsion from the KofC.  I believe they do have the duty, per their charter, to discharge any member whose behavior is scandalous; such determination does not require excommunication.
  2. Anyone who materially facilitates abortion incurs automatic excommunication - latae sententiae.  The bishop does not excommunicate such an individual.  Bishop Olmsted made that clear a few days ago when he confirmed the automatic excommunication of the Catholic hospital administator.
So why is "Supreme" taking this action of squelching those Knights who want to act as real men?  Some opine that the national KofC is simply deferring to the bishops; that is, they don't want to seem more manly than some of the bishops who look the other way as they defy Canon 915. 

That may be so.  But dare I suggest another reason?

John Marrella, and the Supreme Board of Directors, may be acting on explicit direction from some of these bishops!  Might that be a real possibility?  Perhaps even probable?


  1. Actually, when I first read the article, I considered their decision another way: if the bishops wont lead the way, they wont try to be "more Catholic" than the bishop and risk becoming prideful and making a great error.

    You'd run into "this" bishop holds firm his flock and "that" bishop doesn't, just like they do now for Holy Communion.

    A decade or two ago, when I was involved, when I learned that Ted Kennedy and Jack Kennedy too were always members, I realized this (and birth control issue) was not something they would ever do something about, and it tarnished my impression of the organization sure. This isn't new, it's just amazing that someone actually brought it up! Must have been a whole council of wonderful MEN!

    But who would decide? Each council's Grand Knight? What if the Grand Knight is OK with it - then Councils would fragment and disappear altogether (Roe Effect, fewer potential members). The Knights support their bishops everywhere, as they are given to us by the See and it is the See that should recall a misguided one that fails to lead his flock, not a Knight that should lead where the bishop wont and potentially muck up a bishops behind the scenes efforts (or lack thereof, again, a See issue).

    My opinion of the bishops: nobody wants to cut a soul loose, to be shocked and on his own, free-er for the devil to infest further, so they let them in and hope more grace is welcomed in during the descration of a Most Compassionate Heart of Christ. That's what we're doing with probably half the Mass attendees (pro-abortion).

    Don't fret - soon being against abortion and homosexual relations will become so speech-illegal, so taboo, only "practicing" Catholics will attend Mass, or KofC Councils, or label themselves "Catholic". Then we'll be strong and ready to evangelize better, as we suffer for Christ for not doing more "yesterday" like these local Knights want to.

  2. Seriously....

    I hardly think they should waste time looking into every little "he's not catholic enough" claim. I'd rather my local council continued collecting resources for the local crisis pregnancy center.

  3. Paul, I responded to you via a post today.

  4. Katherine, when the Knights have dealt with pro-abortion politicians who wield considerable influence to facilitate baby-murder or sodomy, they are dealing with something much more than "a little he's not Catholic enough claim". These are serious issues, according to the Magisterium and their own mission statements. It's very helpful that they raise money for good causes, but that will not atone for the guilt that they will now incur for allowing rot to fester in their midst.


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